'Osama' push seeking to cross political party lines

LOS ANGELES: United Artists (UA) is in the midst of a targeted outreach campaign for the independent film Osama that has successfully brought together political voices as diverse as President Bush and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).

LOS ANGELES: United Artists (UA) is in the midst of a targeted outreach campaign for the independent film Osama that has successfully brought together political voices as diverse as President Bush and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).

The film, which is the first feature made in Afghanistan post-Taliban, follows the story of a young girl whose family disguises her as a boy so she can seek work to support them. Because of the indie nature of the film and its limited release in select markets, the marketing budget is small. "You can't afford to put that much into a film like this, so you have to pick your spots," said David Bloom, VP of corporate communications at MGM, parent of UA. The UA team used the film's depiction of women's lives under the Taliban to position the movie as a must-see for those concerned about women's rights and boosting support for recent US foreign policy. "It's wonderful that people on both sides of the aisle politically would have something to agree on," said Bloom. The outreach began with screenings for influential women's issues leaders, such as Mavis Leno, wife of Jay Leno, who is chairwoman of the Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. That led to further screenings in Washington with Sen. Clinton and to White House screenings for the president and first lady. A United Nations screening also was held last week. Praise from high-profile political leaders has garnered mention in The Washington Post and The New York Times. President Bush recently told a White House gathering, "If you haven't seen it yet, I hope you'll have a chance to see it; I want to encourage you to see it." The studio also has sent about 100 tapes of the film to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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